mon 22/12/2014

theartsdesk.com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Annie

Matt Wolf

A lot of harsh words have been and will continue to be written about the new movie musical remake of Annie, the Broadway mainstay about the Depression-era tyke who exists to teach...

Madness, O2 Arena

Matthew Wright

There were silly hats, and venerable, bouncy songs for all the family at the O2 last night. The traditional Madness December tour was Christmas come early for most of the audience...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Millions Like Us

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: Millions Like Us - The Story of the Mod Revival 1977–1989A “testosterone-fuelled youth movement” is how the opening paragraph of the introductory essay of...

Widowers' Houses, Orange Tree Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

When the Orange Tree lost all its Arts Council funding earlier this year it was hard to get too outraged. An institution that has made a niche in giving the good folk of Richmond...

theartsdesk at the Dubai International Film Festival

Demetrios Matheou

Dubai is a city that famously emerged from the desert, founded on oil and ambition, rising in an eruption of skyscrapers, luxury resorts and bling.One might say that Gulf cinema...

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live, BBC One

Matthew Wright

It’s never a good start when the performers have more to gain than the audience. The album Cheek to Cheek, of which this was a televised performance, came out in September to a...

Classical CDs Weekly: Jean Barraqué, Haydn, Mozart, Michael Tilson Thomas

Graham Rickson

 Jean Barraqué: Sonate pour piano Roger Woodward (Celestial Harmonies)An important reissue of a recording originally...

Serial Finale: Cul-de-Sacs and Curveballs

Fisun Güner

The concluding episode came, and in a confusion of dates I missed it. If you’ve been following the weekly podcast Serial,...

Big Eyes

Matt Wolf

The worlds of marital abuse and artistic fraud collide to eye-opening if also frustrating effect in Big Eyes, Tim Burton's...

Un Ballo in Maschera, Royal Opera

David Nice

Covent Garden’s masked balls circling around the New Year feature not the seasonal bourgeois Viennese couple and a bat-...

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice

Stuart Houghton

Telltale Games has pioneered the 'box set' model of gaming with their hit episodic adventures based in the Walking Dead...

We Made It: Factum Arte

Florence Hallett

With its team of artists and craftsmen Factum Arte resembles the workshops of old, the rhythmic clatter of hammer and chisel...

The Fall, Series 2 Finale, BBC Two

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Before the second series of The Fall began, I was watching Gillian Anderson being interviewed on This Morning. While the...

Beeswing

Helen K Parker

When I found out Jack King-Spooner was making another game, I didn’t know whether to be happy, or to be sick in my mouth a...

Eric and Little Ern, St James Theatre

Veronica Lee

The audience for this show could probably be divided into to two camps: those who fondly remember watching Morecambe &...

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Sam Marlowe

Drop-dead dames, a hard-bitten gumshoe, an ambitious writer and a sleazy movie mogul: this slick, sassy 1989 musical by Cy...

Photographer Rena Effendi: 'Images of dislocation'

Tom Birchenough

Photographer Rena Effendi’s current exhibition, "Zones of Silence", at London's Mosaic Rooms includes work from four of her...

Dumb and Dumber To

Katherine McLaughlin

“Comedy is all about timing” quips Lloyd Christmas at one point, something this sequel to the Farrelly Brothers' crass,...

Almost, Maine, Park Theatre

Heather Neill

For a Christmas-weary Brit who's already had it up to here with commercial bonhomie and festive schmaltz, there were going...

The Frozen Scream, Wales Millennium Centre

Gary Raymond

There are moments in this collaboration between performer and theatre impresario Christopher Green and best-selling novelist...

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Jasper Rees

So now we know. Sort of. The missing clue was tweezered into view in time for the final episode of The Missing and the fate...

Guys and Dolls

Adam Sweeting

This newly-restored version of one of MGM's most hallowed musicals is making the seasonal rounds with a run at the BFI and...

The Choir: New Military Wives, BBC Two

Marina Vaizey

This feelgood programme hit all the buttons with almost unerring precision, as we followed Gareth Malone's project to...

The Merchant of Venice, Almeida Theatre

David Nice

All that glisters is not gold in the casino and television game-show world of Rupert Goold’s American Shakespeare, first...

 

GAME OF THRONES EPISODE 1: FROM IRON FROM ICE Lashings of intrigue but poor pacing mars this pilot episode

THEARTSDESK AT THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Emirati showboating and kitsch parties accompany some important Arab cinema

TONY BENNETT AND LADY GAGA: CHEEK TO CHEEK LIVE, BBC ONE Musical novelty act just about justifies an hour's featherweight entertainment

MADNESS, O2 ARENA The old hits still dazzle, but fresh infusions of insanity are needed

CLASSICAL CDS WEEKLY: JEAN BARRAQUÉ, HAYDN, MOZART, MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS French modernism, classical piano concertos and a delectable collection of orchestral miniatures

WIDOWERS' HOUSES, ORANGE TREE THEATRE A timely revival of a timeless satire

disc of the day

Album of the Year: Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues

In a year of women who rocked, Gainsville punks topped the charts

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Listed

Listed: Science Fiction in Videogames
Nearly all videogames are fantastical, but few are interestingly fantastical
Listed: The World and Beyond - London Jazz Festival 2014
This year's festival promises further encounters with the strange and new
Listed: Wall Flowers - The Best of Berlin
It divided a city, but the Wall produced great stories and songs, dramas and films. We pick our favourites

We Made It

We Made It: Factum Arte

Recreating a facsimile of Tutankhamun’s tomb and a painting by Veronese is all part of revolutionising our experience of art

We Made It: Publisher and Curator Amelia Gregory

Gold leaf and alchemical processes feed into a unique view of publishing

We Made It: Bex Burch, Dagaare Xylophone-Maker

Percussionist explains how the unique craft and culture of a north-Ghanaian people shapes her music

film

Annie

Quvenzhané Wallis shines in largely superfluous musical remake

theartsdesk at the Dubai International Film Festival

Few festivals involve such contrasts as Dubai's, where Emirati showboating and kitsch parties accompany some important Arab cinema

DVD: The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq

Little comes as expected in Guillaume Nicloux’s wry, eccentric French comedy

tv

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live, BBC One

Musical novelty act just about justifies an hour's featherweight entertainment

The Fall, Series 2 Finale, BBC Two

Is this the end for Allan Cubitt's fifty shades of serial killer?

The Missing, Series Finale, BBC One

Audience foxed by twists in the outro of the first series

new music

Album of the Year: Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues

In a year of women who rocked, Gainsville punks topped the charts

Madness, O2 Arena

The old hits still dazzle, but fresh infusions of insanity are needed

Album of the Year: Jason Moran - All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller

A brilliant recasting of the Harlem stride master's music

classical

Classical CDs Weekly: Jean Barraqué, Haydn, Mozart, Michael Tilson Thomas

French modernism, classical piano concertos and a delectable collection of orchestral miniatures

Fretwork, Shoreditch Church

Among the Christmas staples, it's a relief to find an imaginative take on a different theme

Ohlsson, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican

Hymning the human in a Nielsen masterpiece and the cosmic in a psychedelic epic by Busoni

opera

Un Ballo in Maschera, Royal Opera

Shining moments and star voices in mostly drab Verdi

The Way Back Home, ENO, Young Vic

A colourful children's show that's got Christmas written all over it

Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera

Antonio Pappano and Nina Stemme spellbind again in Christof Loy's rigorous Wagner

theatre

Widowers' Houses, Orange Tree Theatre

A timely revival of a timeless satire

Eric and Little Ern, St James Theatre

Affectionate tribute to a great double act

City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Lavish entertainment from the musical portrait of Forties Tinseltown

visual arts

DVD: Hockney

An affectionate but not entirely satisfactory portrait of the artist

The Great Museum

From politicians to polar bears, unexpected insights behind the scenes

Maggi Hambling, National Gallery

A recent body of work tells of the painter's craft and the stormy Suffolk coast

dance

The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, London Coliseum

Wayne Eagling's production returns for another bout of rodent control

Edward Scissorhands, New Adventures, Sadler's Wells

A hearty dose of cheer, with just a little weirdness, from master storyteller Matthew Bourne

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Royal Ballet

Classy dance, design and music, marinated just a little long in the treacle well

comedy

Dara Ó Bríain, Touring

Irish comic is on cracking form on home turf

Noel Fielding, Eventim Apollo

Surreal fun from a delightfully playful comic

John Bishop, Touring

Short on jokes but long on charm

gaming

Game of Thrones Episode 1: Iron From Ice

Lashings of intrigue but poor pacing mars this pilot episode

Beeswing

Cerebral wandering through the memories of a wonderfully strange games developer

The Talos Principle

Simple mechanics lead to complex puzzles and philosophical musings…

latest comments

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